Year after year the returns from the trading-posts became more valuable; and the explorations were pushed farther and farther into the interior. The canoes of the traders penetrated the wide realms watered by the upper channels of the Delaware. A trading-house was also erected in the vast forest, upon the Jersey shore of the Hudson River, where the thronged streets of Jersey City at the present hour cover the soil.
We have now reached the year 1618, two years before the arrival of the Pilgrims at Plymouth. Though the energetic Dutch merchants were thus perseveringly and humanely pushing their commerce, and extending their trading posts, no attempt had yet been made for any systematic agricultural colonization.
The Dutch alone had then any accurate knowledge of the Hudson River, or of the coasts of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Long Island. In 1618 the special charter of the Company, conferring upon them the monopoly of exclusive trade with the Indians, expired. Though the trade was thus thrown open to any adventurous Dutch merchant, still the members of the Company enjoyed an immense advantage in having all the channels perfectly understood by them, and in being in possession of such important posts.
English fishing vessels visited the coast of Maine, and an unsuccessful attempt had been made to establish a colony at the mouth of the Kennebec River. Sir Walter Raleigh had also made a very vigorous but unavailing effort to establish a colony in Virginia. Before the year 1600, every vestige of his attempt had disappeared. Mr. John Romeyn Brodhead, in his valuable history of the State of New York, speaking of this illustrious man, says:
“The colonists, whom Raleigh sent to the island of Roanoke in 1585, under Grenville and Lane, returned the next year dispirited to England. A second expedition, dispatched in 1587, under John White, to found the borough of Raleigh, in Virginia, stopped short of the unexplored Chesapeake, whither it was bound, and once more occupied Roanoke. In 1590 the unfortunate emigrants had wholly disappeared; and with their extinction all immediate attempts to establish an English colony in Virginia were abandoned. Its name alone survived.
“After impoverishing himself in unsuccessful efforts to add an effective American plantation to his native kingdom, Raleigh, the magnanimous patriot, was consigned, under an unjust judgment, to lingering imprisonment in the Tower of London, to be followed, after the lapse of fifteen years, by a still more iniquitous execution. Yet returning justice has fully vindicated Raleigh’s fame. And nearly two centuries after his death the State of North Carolina gratefully named its capital after that extraordinary man, who united in himself as many kinds of glory as were ever combined in any individual.”
THE COMMENCEMENT OF COLONISATION.